LAGOS, Nigeria, June 14 – African champions Nigeria, who stayed in Namibia after their World Cup qualifier in a row over bonus payments, have delayed their departure for the Confederations Cup in Brazil, officials said on Friday.
The Super Eagles failed to catch their flight to South America for the tournament, which begins on Saturday, after players insisted they should be paid their usual win bonus for the 1-1 draw in Windhoek on Wednesday.
The president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, met the team to explain that the organisation is broke and as result, they would only be $2,500 (1,873 euros, £1,594) each.
Players had demanded double that amount.
Now, the NFF said that Nigeria’s sports minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, had intervened in the row and the Super Eagles would now fly to Brazil on Saturday.
“We are most grateful to the minister for his intervention in the matter, which means the team can now travel to Brazil on Saturday and arrive in Belo Horizonte before the first match against Tahiti on Monday,” said NFF general secretary Musa Amadu.
Amadu said the NFF, like most Nigerians, was taken aback by the actions of the players to stay back in Namibia.
“We are shocked like every Nigerian at the attitude of the players,” he said.
“It is incomprehensible because the NFF president and myself sat down with the management of the Super Eagles, including coach Stephen Keshi, to explain why we had to slash the bonus and other measures taken as a result of our financial constraints.”
The NFF also dismissed reports that they were queried by the National Sports Commission over the bonus saga.
“We did not receive any query from the National Sports Commission. Before taking the decision to slash the win-bonus and downsize the team’s crew, we briefed the minister,” Amadu added.